Will Virtual Reality Help in Fighting Gambling Addiction?

Will Virtual Reality Help in Fighting Gambling Addiction?

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer technology that uses multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations. It has been long romanticised as the technology of the future that is to revolutionise the online gambling industry.

According to scientists, VR could also help gamblers deal with the problem of addiction. Let’s see how this technology can help in fighting gambling addiction.

Will Virtual Reality Help in Fighting Gambling Addiction?

How it can help

VR casinos first opened in 2015 and they make gambling more exciting for people who lack time to visit an actual casino. These casinos also offer enticing casino bonuses and you can check the casino review section to know the experience of previous players about promotional offers.

With VR, gamblers can take their willpower and test it in the virtual reality arena. Psychologists create sights, sound and the gambling action in virtual reality environments. Sensory triggers induce craving and intense emotional responses. These impulses are then used to control the patient’s urges and it can be used by the psychologist to help their recovery.

VR can be used as a measuring tool to see how gambling manifests itself in a gambler and how what can be done to control those impulses. It can prove very effective and is based on the Cognitive Behavioural theory (CBT). It can be a real leg-up in terms of helping those in need of better coping mechanisms.

How VR therapy works

The Stephane Bouchard of the Université du Québec Cyberpsychology Laboratory can help you in fighting gambling addiction. They have developed a virtual reality program that helps problem gamblers face and overcome their compulsions. The treatment is based on the principles of CBT. VR works with traditional CBT methods and allows therapists to access the patient’s emotions and thought pattern without having to go to an actual casino. They first encourage gamblers to discuss risk factors and what sorts of triggers initiate the urge to gamble.

When patients put the VR goggles, they enter a real casino environment that has all the familiar gambling associated sights and sounds. The patients can move around and play different casino games. As they interact with the gambling environment, the therapist observes the patient and can ask questions about what is going in their mind. In later sessions, the therapy is used to help the patient increase awareness of their actions and to help practice relapse strategies.

Is it safe?

With the success in trails, these results also translate to real-world situations. Even though patients know that they are not in a real casino, their behaviour is still close enough to what it would be in an actual casino. Patients appraise the casinos with their emotions as gamblers and immediately see the potential of winning. The small details light up their brains in FMRI scans as if they were gambling in a casino studio.

VR also has negative effects on players. Spending more than the recommended 30 minutes in VR will cause you to lose the spatial awareness around you. It is also known to cause nausea, mostly as it’s related to motion sickness and speed of the objects moving in the game you’re playing.

Future applications

Researchers have determined that the VR therapy is safe and effective. They have also begun randomised control trials in an outpatient clinic for gamblers. In about three years, Bouchard expects mental health professionals will start implementing this technique into their therapy. It won’t be a medical cure, but it will be a new tool that will help therapists deal with gambling addiction.

A British firm has predicted that wagers from VR gambling will grow to $520 million by 2021 — an 800% increase over 5 years. You can put on HTC vive goggles and transport to your spot at the poker table instead of playing Texas Hold’em on the desktop. VR casinos will also become popular once the new casino providers roll in.


Name: Will Virtual Reality Help in Fighting Gambling Addiction?
Author: Paul Johnson
Published Date: 30/09/2019